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CONNECT THE WORLD
A Syrian Activists' Trek Through Seven European Countries; Massive Flooding in Eastern India; 10,000 Firefighters Battle Calfifornia's Fires; U.S. to Provide Air Cover to Syrian Rebels Fighting ISIS; NTSB, Boeing Officials Join Investigators in France. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 5, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:25] MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Shielded by U.S. fire power in the skies, U.S.-backed Syrian rebels caught in the crosshairs, yet key
to President Obama's Syria policy. We'll have a live report from the Pentagon next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Like tens of thousands of others, his journey began on a beach in Turkey
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Seven countries in 32 days: one man's incredible journey to flee war-torn Syria. We'll have an exclusive report from Europe's perilous
And in the line of fire: 10,000 firefighters battling big blazes in California. We'll get an update from the ground.
Plus, frozen out in the workplace. We speak to the man who says modern air conditioning offers some of you nothing but cold comfort.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: Well, a new military commitment could signal deepening U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war. U.S. war planes are ready to go on
the attack should U.S.-backed Syrian rebels come under fire.
The U.S. carried out the first such airstrikes last week after an attack on two groups of allied rebels in northern Syria. U.S. officials believe
rival fighters linked to al Qaeda were behind the ambush.
Let's get the latest now from the Pentagon, and Barbara Starr is there -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Pentagon officials are now saying at least one of those U.S.-trained rebels was killed in the
attack. The U.S. says it's got the rebel's backs, but those backs have a very large target on them.
STARR (voice-over): Smoke rising from a U.S. airstrike in northern Syria launched to protect American- trained rebels under attack from an al Qaeda-
linked group, the first strike since President Obama approved air cover to protect rebels under attack from any group, al Qaeda, the Assad regime or
ISIS, a hint of the expanded mission in the works for days.
ASHTON CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I think we have an obligation to support the fighters when day go in there.
STARR: But what if the Assad regime attacks the U.S.-backed rebels?
MARK TONER, DEPUTY U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We have cautioned Syria in the past not to engage U.S. aircraft and the Syria regime would
similarly be advised not to interfere with new Syrian forces.
STARR: The strike here in northern Syria is the area in U.S. crosshairs. Airstrikes are being used to shut down the last major border crossing into
Syria near Aleppo to prevent weapons from getting to Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They are seeing more difficulty getting their fighters into Syria.
STARR: Despite fewer fighters, a classified intelligence assessment bleakly concludes that ISIS is as strong as it was a year ago when airstrikes
began, but is no longer making huge advances on the ground.
STARR: The number of fighters down slightly to 20,000 to 30,000. The Pentagon says that is progress.
But in Iraq, even as the U.S. struck a facility making vehicle-borne bombs, the defense intelligence agency has its own grim assessment. One official
saying, quote, "The situation in Iraq between Iraqi security forces and ISIL is in stalemate."
After nearly 6,000 airstrikes and a year of bombing in Syria and Iraq, fundamental questions of whether the strategy will ever be successful.
STARR: You know, the Pentagon has said right from the beginning that airstrikes alone would never be enough to defeat ISIS, but officials here
are also saying they are looking very hard at the question of whether after all is said and done, can Iraq come back as a single nation, or will if
fracture into sectarian violence -- Max.
FOSTER: Barbara, thank you very much indeed.
Well, looking at the bigger picture. Events in places like Syria are having a direct impact on Europe's migrant crisis. Many who have made the
journey to places like Calais are looking for a better future.
In the first of a special two part series in tonight's show, CNN's Arwa Damon has this exclusive look at one young Syrian's remarkable journey.
YILMAZ PASHA, SYRIA IMMIGRANT: The smugglers, they see you as a euro not as a human.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 23- year- old Yilmaz Pasha, a Syrian media activist, is wanted by the Syrian regime and ISIS. Like tens of thousands of others, his journey began on a beach in
[11:05:06] PASHA: When you cross at sea, you know, somebody, they didn't even wear the life jackets and they didn't know -- they don't know how to
DAMON: The transit from here cost $900 per person. The smugglers gave them a boat, pointed to a Greek island and asked, who wants to be the captain.
PASHA: My friend was the captain.
DAMON (on camera): Had he driven a boat before?
PASHA: No. The smugglers said it's so easy.
DAMON: Were you scared in the boat? PASHA: The boat start, I don't know, left and goes right. So it was so scary.
DAMON (voice-over): And the relief of being back on land evident on everyone's faces.
PASHA: Local people met us there. They are lovely people. They give to us food, a sandwich, and water, and they say to us, you are saved now.
DAMON: First, they need to register with the Greek authorities. There is a large crowd waiting. Once that is accomplished, he receives this,
permission to travel in specific areas in Greece for six months.
We meet up with Yilmaz in Athens where he is planning the trek across Europe on his own to save smuggling fees. Social media will be his guide.
PASHA: There are Facebook groups for the whole journey. And it's like marketing. Numbers of smugglers, maps.
[08:05:10] DAMON: Germany is his goal.
(on camera): What are you taking with you?
PASHA: A bag, some clothes, maybe two t-shirts, one pants and one short. You need to buy boots because you will walk -- you will need to walk
DAMON: So out of everything you could take?
PASHA: It's a gift from my girlfriend.
DAMON (voice-over): As for mementos, this scarf, and something he won't ever lose.
PASHA: I have shrapnel here. When I touch it, it reminds me of Syria.
DAMON: Arwa Damon, CNN, Athens.
FOSTER: And later on Connect the World, we'll have part two of Arwa's exclusive report as Yilmaz Pasha pushes on to Germany. It's a fascinating
She follows his seven nation trek across Europe, a journey not without some confrontations with police. That is in our next hour on CNN.
Before that, we'll speak to an expert about Washington's strategy for stopping ISIS in Syria. Stay with us for that. And that's in about 15
Now, vast regions of South Asia are coping with rising flood waters. In India, the government says 10 million people, mostly the western and
eastern parts of the country, have been affected. At least 178 people have died.
Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes and are now being housed in temporary camps.
CNN's Ravi Agrawal joins us now from New Delhi. He's the bureau chief there of course. And this is really as the information comes through from
some of these more isolated areas, the extent of the damage is quite extraordinary.
RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Max. And India is battling this on two fronts, really, on India's eastern coast, the states of west Bengal
and Odisha (ph) have been lashed by rains since the weekend when Cyclone Coman (ph) made landfall on eastern India, but also in Bangladesh and
Myanmar. So, that entire region has been struggling with rains that are obviously much more severe than the regular monsoon rains. And that's been
the main problem there. Dams are being overwhelmed leading to a lot of flooding that's washed away homes, broken bridges and killed a lot of
people because of that.
On the other hand, on India's western coast, far, far away, the cyclone obviously hasn't made its way there, and it won't, but the monsoon rains
there have been so intense that there, too, in the western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan about 100 people in total have lost their lives,
again from accidents, because of a lot of rain and flooding.
FOSTER: It does seem, as well, Ravi, the infrastructure is struggling somewhat. A lot of properties weren't able to withstand the pressure of
the water there.
AGRAWAL: Yeah, exactly, Max. I mean, the main problem here it's not just the rains. Many parts of the world receive heavy rainfall, maybe not as
heavy as this, but rain doesn't kill people, floods don't kill people necessarily either. But when the infrastructure around them crumbles, when
bridges are poorly made and they collapse, when homes are poorly built and they're washed away, that leads to people being killed. And that's the
problem here. This is not unusual in India.
According to India's government, 1,600 people lose their lives every year because of accidents from flooding and rain. So, what we're seeing here in
the last few days is not unusual. The death toll will rise. And it is a longer-term issue for the Indian government to deal with.
FOSTER: Ravi, thank you very much indeed as you bring us those updates.
Now police in China are looking for the mother of a new-born baby who was abandoned in Beijing, but that merely scratches the surface of this
heartbreaking story. The little girl was heard crying from inside a public toilet. And a warning, the pictures you will see here are disturbing.
CNN's Will Ripley joins me from Beijing.
And you managed to track some of those involved in this incredible rescue.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is incredible, and it's heartbreaking to think about the circumstances for this little girl who is
only just a couple of days old now, but she's already been through so much wedged face down in a toilet drain, perhaps just minutes away from not
But police reached in and sure enough she is a survivor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: No child should come into the world like this: pulled from a public toilet by a Beijing police officer. Neighbors called when they
heard the newborn crying, wrapped in a blanket. She's safe, her mother gone.
"I think it's brutal for a mother to do this," says Sung Mun Guo (ph) who clean the toilets.
He says a young woman walked out alone just minutes before neighbors heard the crying.
"She was acting normally," he says.
Thousands of people live in this Hutong, one of countless back allies in the Chinese capital. Nobody recognized the woman who left before police
When the breeze blows through these narrow back allies, especially on hot summer days like this, it carries with it the stench from the single public
restroom that pretty much everyone here shares.
And when you step inside, it really hits you, the smell, the heat is that much more intense. And you look at these holes in the ground and think
this is where a little girl, a baby came into the world.
A migrant construction worker from Eastern China heard his neighbors calling for help. He followed police into the toilet, pulled out his
phone, and started recording. He asked us not to show his face.
"I feel so torn and sad," he says. "Words can't describe it. How could something like this happen. Parents abandon thousands of babies each year
in China, children left in trash bins or toilets are the rare worst cases."
In 2013, rescuers saved another newborn, a boy found alive inside a toilet pipe. His 22-year-old single mother told police it was an accident and she
was embarrassed. The boy survived. Others have not.
The Chinese government set up what they call baby hatches for parents to leave unwanted children, but they're so overwhelmed workers have to turn
many parents away.
Experts say nearly all abandoned children have disabilities or medical conditions, most end up in orphanages. Parents who can't afford health
care may feel they have no other choice.
Can you ever forget seeing something like that?
"I'll remember it for the rest of my life," he says.
Police are still looking for this newborn's mother, a woman who left her baby alone, helpless, flushed down the toilet.
RIPLEY: And so now she joins the more than 100,000 children estimated to be abandoned here in China. This little girl is in hospital. She's in
stable condition expected to be OK. And Max, police are still trying to find her mother.
FOSTER: Well, thankfully at least she's alive. Will, thank you very much indeed for bringing us that incredible story.
Still to come tonight, the U.S. fires back after American supported rebels in Syria come under attack by rival militants. That and much more ahead on
Connect the World.
[11:16:37] FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Max Foster. Welcome back to you.
Now, we're going to return to our top story, because U.S.-backed Syrian rebels have now a powerful ally in the skies. President Barack Obama has
approved the use of airstrikes to protect them.
The first strikes under the new policy took place a few days ago after U.S. allied rebels came under attack by suspected al Nusra militants. U.S.
officials say they will defend the rebels no matter who may attack them, that includes the Syrian regime.
The U.S. says it has cautioned the government not to interfere with the rebels' anti-ISIS mission.
Even before the latest foray into the Syrian conflict, the military reality on the ground was extremely complicated. There are many different groups
vying for control.
Take a look at Damascus and the surrounding region there. The capital itself still controlled by the government, but areas around it are
contested by various rebel groups fighting to overthrow the Assad regime.
Up north, the picture gets even more complicated. The regime is trying to make in-roads in Aleppo as rebels battle to hold on to their territory.
Jabhat al-Nusra among the rebel groups active in that area up there.
And to the north and east you can see where ISIS and Kurdish fighters are in control. Very, very complicated situation.
Let's get some perspective now from Afzal Ashrak. He's a consultant fellow at the Royal United Services Institute here in London. Thank you for
First of all, airstrikes. I mean, they haven't worked much in this region in recent years. Where are they going wrong?
AFZAL ASHRAK, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: Well, airstrikes in general are a perishable impact. Air power is very effective, but the effect does
not last very long unless you exploit it on the ground. And that is what we're seeing played out here, it doesn't matter where you apply airstrikes,
people adapt to them. The Serbs did during the Bosnian campaign. We know that Daesh already has. In fact, the better insurgents know how to adapt.
And airstrikes actually if they go on for a long time, many years, have a very effect on the civilian population, because of the breakdown of
society, society of the services -- oil, water, and the health service start to impact the civilian population.
So, the problem with airstrikes in this context, appears that they are being used without a single and effective strategy for exploiting the
impact on the ground.
FOSTER: The point you're making presumably is that these groups are mobile, whereas if they were fixed military installations,airsrikes would
be more effective.
ASHRAK: Oh, yes, they are. They are very effective against conventional armies, because conventional armies rely on bases, logistical
infrastructure. And when they do mobilize, they mobilize en masse and it's very easy to take them and target them.
FOSTER: But al-Nusra, for example, moves through the region and it's very difficult to have a big impact on the group because they're spread out.
ASHRAK: It is.
But even when you do have an impact, and there are some very effective airstrikes, they're able to adapt over time. That's the nature of
insurgency. So, they learn very quickly and they adapt.
FOSTER: But they -- the whole point of this support is that they are working with groups on the ground. So, to say there's no coordination
isn't entirely true, right. There is a ground force working with an air force.
[11:20:05] ASHRAK: Well, I think that this is only just beginning to happen, because we've had a very small number I think of the 200 people
that the U.S. has trained I think only about 90 were deployed, many of whom have already been killed. So it's a very tiny force.
What you' described just a few minutes ago is a very complex picture with lots of rebel groups with very different objectives. And so what we
haven't got on the ground is a priority -- until very recently -- if President Obama makes good on his promise to protect the rebels that are
fighting Daesh. What he's saying is he's prioritizing the war against Daesh over the war against Assad. And that actually is strategically very
significant. And it may well have an impact.
FOSTER: Let's hear from the State Department and what they had to say about what they call defensive airstrikes in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK TONER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We view the Syrian forces that have been trained and equipped by the Department of Defense as partners in our
overall counter ISIL effort. And those forces -- these forces rather are being provided with a wide range of coalition support in their mission to
counter ISIL in Syria. And that includes -- and I'm using a terminology, but defense in fire support to protect them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Maybe that's the way we should be looking at it, though, instead of looking at the U.S. campaign and how it's not working necessarily as it
would normally work with a U.S. force on the ground. Those forces they are working with, and have got the same aims as the U.S. do need the air
support, don't they, even though it's not the most effective sort of system overall.
ASHRAK: Of course they do. And I think it's useful that they have that support. But I think that what is missing, what appears to be missing, is
a grand strategy both political and military, of how the air and land components are fitting together for a political aim. And I think that is
not clear to many people, particularly to those -- some of those groups on the ground.
FOSTER: OK. Afzal, thank you very much indeed for joining us with your perspective and analysis on a very, very complex current issue.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, Arwa Damon chronicles one of Syrian refugee's journey across Europe and the perils
that he faces while searching for a better life.
And find out how one neighborhood in Serbia's capital is trying to reinvent itself as a stylish location for work and for play. That's on One Square
Meter coming up next.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Founded on the spot where two rivers meet, Serbia's capital Belgrade stands at the crossroads between
eastern and western Europe. Destroyed and rebuilt dozens of times in its long history, the city is now home to more than a million people.
Along the riverfront lies one of Belgrade's oldest neighborhoods, Sava Mala (ph). Once a bustling port area, its grand mansions were neglected and
left to crumble in the 20th Century until now.
Artists have been slowly transforming the neighborhood, turning abandoned buildings into art galleries and splashing walls with color.
One of the pioneers of this renaissance was Evan Lalag (ph), who converted this former storage depot into an art venue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we came here, there was nothing, really. We found here abandoned, you know, warehouses, abandoned houses, even courtyards.
It was shabby, filthy and from that time more than 50 galleries, clubs, restaurants have been opened in the neighborhood now.
[11:25:34] DEFTERIOS: And it's not just the artists who enjoy Sava Mala's (ph) crumbling charm.
Just minutes away is a co-working space for startups, which sprang up three years ago from an abandoned building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sava Mala (ph) at that time was literally the -- one of the worst parts of Belgrade. But you could see that, you know, from this
devastated area that there is a big potential that you can start working in.
DEFTERIOS: Radan Kovic (ph) says Nova Iskra (ph) now counts 250 members, like this British IT company's research and development team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that it's real close to the river, the fact it's close to the center, they have many nice apartments in the area that
young people, young entrepreneurs can rent. I think it's the best place to be located in as a young startup in Belgrade.
DEFTERIOS: The attraction, these entrepreneurs say, is the creative energy of the area, not just the price.
A square meter here costs $1,500, slighly less than the city center average. But this crop of trendy restaurants and bars also form part of
the allure. Not everyone feels included in the area's upbeat comback. Dotted on the walls, are Sava Mala's (ph) ghost people, whimsical figures
created by two artists to highlight the problems of its original residents.
UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: That was the result of our interviewing of the people around Sava Mala (ph), of the people that had no voice that were
neglected by this part of town entirely.
DEFTERIOS: The paintings tackle issues like pollution, tolerance and Sava Mala's (ph) overlooked inhabitants symbolized by an endangered panda.
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: I think that locals just need a better communication with whatever is going on here.
DEFTERIOS: And with visitors flocking to this creative district, Sava Mala's (ph) mix of old and new gives it a unique spirit.
John Defterios, CNN.
[11:30:06] DEFTERIOS: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour. American-backed Syrian rebels will now have air cover if they come
under attack. The first strikes took place last week to protect two groups after they came under attack in Syria.
Heavy monsoon rains have caused severe flooding in parts of India. Government says a total of 10 million people have been affected. At least
178 have died and hundreds of thousands are now being housed in temporary camps.
Pakistan has executed a man who was imprisoned at the age of 14. Shabkat Hussain (ph) was hanged in the early hours of Tuesday despite numerous
appeals from human rights groups. He says he was tortured into making a confession. Activists say Hussain was a juvenile when he was convicted and
that he was poorly represented by a state appointed lawyer.
Officials from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Boeing are meeting in the French city of Toulouse today. On Wednesday, a lab there
will try to determine whether plane debris found on Reunion Island comes from Malaysian Airlines flight 370, which vanished 17 months ago.
Our Saima Mohsin joins us now from near Toulouse with more.
Have you had much more detail on what's going on there, Saima?
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, the French leaders of the investigation, which is the prosecutor's office, have
remained incredibly tight-lipped. As you can imagine, this is not only a sensitive investigation, it's also a manslaughter case here in France where
the French nationals on board, their families, have brought a case for manslaughter should hijacking or terrorism have been involved. So it's
very difficult to get information.
What we do know, though, is that there have been a number of meetings on late Monday evening, a meeting wrapped up between the Paris prosecutor,
Malaysian authorities who have flown in and the B.A., that's air crash investigators here in France.
Today, CNN has learned that Boeing and the United States air transport -- National Transport Safety Board has met with Malaysian investigator in
Now, all of these meetings are all ab out deciding how to go forward, what tests do they want to run, Max? What do they want to look for? How will
they proceed? They need to agree, all of that.
Before they arrive here Wednesday, that's tomorrow, when they will open that sealed box that contains the flaperon, we now know that that flaperon
is from a 777 aircraft. We don't know if it is from MH370. And of course, they want to make sure they are, as the families have demanded and asked
100 percent certain that this is from MH370.
And the Australian safety board has told CNN that what they're looking for is a direct link between this flaperon from a 777 aircraft to MH370. And
they're going to run a number of tests, Max. There will be things like x- rays, sonograms. They'll look at carefully not only to try and match that part of the aircraft to MH370, but they'll also then want to know if it is
MH370, what exactly happened.
Now experts say they probably won't be able to tell what happened on board, but they will be able to tell how that plane went down. To know what
happened on board, they really need, of course, that flight data recorder - - Max.
FOSTER: So many agencies involved here, and no one wants to make any mistakes either, do they. So what sort of protocols are they setting up,
for example, the moment when they do open up the box?
MOHSIN: Yeah, so a lot of protocol. For example, even when it was delivered, it was delivered in a van. You couldn't see inside. It was in
a sealed container. And it was led by a police escort. Such is the nature of the sensitivity and how important this piece is, not least of course for
the family members of the 239 passengers on board.
When that box is opened inside this lab, Max, it's likely they will be filmed. All the bodies involved from right around the world -- Malaysia,
China, the United States, Boeing, and of course French authorities, they all have to be present at the same time and witness to even the opening of
In fact, everyone who comes into contact with this piece is registered and recorded.
Once they open it, they're likely to take it apart piece by piece. First, of course, they'll examine the exterior. As I say, they'll do sonograms,
x-rays. And then they're likely to take this piece apart. Every little clue they can find. For example, are there any scratches on it? Are there
any markings? Does it show signs of an explosion?
Not likely, though, Max to be any kind of residue because it's been in the sea for so long -- Max.
FOSTER: Saima, thank you very much indeed.
Last week's discovery of that wing component has prompted a wider search on Reunion Island and the waters nearby. Erin McLaughlin reports that locals
are looking for any items that might be linked to MH370.
[11:35:07] ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They look official and they want to help.
(on camera): This crew of five is normally focused on sea rescues such as boats in distress or diving accidents. But since the flaperon washed up on
the shores of Reunion Island, they have been on the lookout for anything that resembles a plane.
(on camera): Like all the boats out looking, it's a small vessel with basic equipment. No high-technology here, just radios and word of mouth.
CECILE DUPRE, PRESIDENT, SAUVETAGE EN MERE: Everybody knows everybody. All the people are related to the sea. They know each other. The minute that we
see something we'll know it.
MCLAUGHLIN: These searchers are all volunteers, electricians, scientists, retirees. This is what they do for fun after work. They say it is their
passion and they want to help in the search for MH370 that has come to their shore.
(on camera): Just over that way is the beach where they found the flaperon. Do the people on this island feel a connection to MH370?
DUPRE: They do. Because everybody was so shocked by the way this plane disappeared without any explanation. It's a rare case.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): These patrols aren't scheduled. Just as they say the sea is on its own timetable.
(on camera): Today there is no signs of a plane, no signs of MH370. These volunteers say they will remain vigilant in the days and weeks ahead.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Reunion Island.
FOSTER: Thousands of firefighters are working around the clock to contain California's rocky fire. It is the biggest of more than 20 wildfires
burning across the state right now. High temperatures and drought conditions are helping to fuel the rocky file.
Paul Vercammen joins us now from the fire ground in northern California.
And people, residents there, really are preparing for the worst now because it's spreading so fast. Right, Paul?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORREPSONDENT: That's right, Max. We have had mandatory evacuations here on the rocky fire. And as you said, the
concentration of these fires largely in northern California.
Some good news, though, right now. You can tell the wind not whipping up and the temperatures are cooler. We also have a little bit more humidity,
Max. So, they're feeling a bit better about things on the rocky fire this morning.
FOSTER: In terms of the number of firefighters, something like 10,000, is that right? So how do they organize that? Are they all from different
areas who are all going into the fire zone because they need to sort of keep the other areas protected as well, don't they?
VERCAMMEN: Absolutely. And they have what's called a mutual aid program. So, we saw a whole number of southern California firefighters up here
helping with this fire as well. Certainly, they do keep people at home, so to speak, to guard, but they all share in the quest to get out these fires.
And they will lend each other firefighters, for lack of a better term, throughout the fire season.
And to show you the level of cooperation, over my right shoulder you'll see this burned out hillside, actually a back fire, that it was some southern
California firefighters from the Los Angeles and Orange County area who put together this well choreographed strategy to burn up the hillside and
protect the entire eastern flank of the rocky fire by creating this massive backfire. And of course when you look at the black behind me, fire can't
burn what it's already burned. So that's all part of the strategy that involves using mutual aid or different teams to put out these fires, Max.
FOSTER: Well, sadly, they're very well practiced on this, aren't they? Because it keeps happening year after year after year. But how would you
say this year's fires compare with previous years?
VERCAMMEN: So far, we have not seen one fire that has taken out hundreds and hundreds of homes. They've been trying to so aggressively fight these
fires that a Cal Fire was telling us, in many instances they have been successful in keeping these fires to five acres, 10 acres. It's those
early parts of the fires that usually consume a lot of houses.
Well, we have as I said, had a lot of blazes and lightning strikes certainly have got a lot to do with it. We have not seen anything of the
level of hundreds and hundreds of homes. And they're all just crossing their fingers in this horrific drought and hoping they continue that
record. But for the most part, knocking down the blazes before they can really become a menace.
FOSTER: Paul, thank you very much indeed for the update on that.
Now to back to one of our top stories, the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, more than 2,000 people have died so far this year trying to cross
the Mediterranean Sea, that's according to the international organization for migration who says it's become the deadliest route for migrants
anywhere in the world. They say it's largely because of traffickers packing people into unsafe boats.
These pictures show some of those who were rescued off the Italian coast on Sunday.
Despite the dangers, many are willing to risk their lives to make the journey.
Picking up from Arwa Damon's exclusive reporting from earlier in the show, here's the story of one Syrians' quest to make it from one side of Europe
to the other.
[11:40:20] PASHA: I lost about six kilograms, I think. You walk a lot. We walked a lot. I forget. We cross countries.
DAMON: Yilmaz Pasha, a Syrian activist looking for a future in Europe, crossed seven countries in 32 days.
The smuggling odyssey began in a rubber boat from Turkey to Greece. In Athens, a train to a town close to the Macedonian border.
PASHA: We start walking. And we crossed to Macedonia and in half an hour.
DAMON: A tide of migrants making its way, often on foot, across Europe.
PASHA: The road is clear. You just need to follow the train track. That's your road.
DAMON: In Macedonia, migrants are banned from using public transport but they can bike.
PASHA: You will see people pulling bicycles on the road speaking English, Syrian? Come, come, yeah.
DAMON: They crossed into Serbia on foot under cover of darkness, especially terrifying for the children among them.
PASHA: Was like a horror movie, you know, you heard scream of children, of little children, babies.
DAMON: Even worse, they were caught by Serbian police.
PASHA: Lucky, yeah. For twice, so it was, you know --
DAMON (on camera): Humiliating.
PASHA: Yeah. It was so hard. I just remember the Syrian army the same way.
DAMON (voice-over): In Serbia, they are registered and given 72 hours to leave. The next crossing, Serbia to Hungary, through the forest.
PASHA: You can see the road. It's like somebody draw it for you. You can just walk through jungle. There is a red line between countries.
DAMON: Yilmaz, navigating using a downloaded map, got lost in the woods.
PASHA: Two days without water and food.
DAMON (on camera): Walking around?
PASHA: We slept on the green like that. We don't have sleep bags. We don't have anything.
DAMON (voice-over): Finally, they make it to Hungary, only to be caught a few hours later by the police.
PASHA: They put us in a caravan, in a room with some plastic and it was 40 person, I think.
DAMON: He was fingerprinted, as required by E.U. law, which means if his asylum in Germany is rejected, he can be returned to Hungary, where he does
not want to stay.
DAMON: Eventually, they are released.
A phone call to another smuggler leads to a car trip into Germany. He made it. And now here, he waits.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Germany.
FOSTER: Tomorrow, Arwa's exclusive reporting will focus on how Europe treats the newly arrived migrants and how many people have found hiding in
the forests along Hungary's border. Now you can catch that on tomorrow's Connect the World 7:00 in Abu Dhabi.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, farmland in the south of Russia is being threatened by a swarm of locusts. Look at that.
We'll show you how much they've managed to devour so far.
[11:46:06] FOSTER: Hello, you are watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Max Foster. Welcome back to you.
Now for some incredible pictures from Russia. Farmland in the south of the country is being threatened by an invasion of locusts. And they're doing a
significant amount of damage as well. Matthew Chance has that story.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not for 30 years, say officials, has Russia suffered a plague like this.
Vast areas of the country's agricultural south are seeing swarms of locusts devour entire fields. Officials say at least 10 percent of crops have
already been destroyed. It's devastating the livelihoods of local farmers like Piotr Stepanchenko (ph).
"Look," he says, "there's nothing left on the corn. The locusts ate it all. And the leaves to the cobs."
Officials from the Russian ministry of agriculture say they're stepping up efforts to save the harvest, declaring a state of emergency and spraying
the crops with powerful pesticides.
But officials admit the locust swarm is moving too fast across southern Russia.
TATIANA DRISHCHEVA, RUSSIAN AGRICULTURAL CENTER (through translator): Gulmikar (ph), Astrahun (ph), Bulgagrade (ph), Dagastan, there is no more
food left for locusts there, so they have flown to a new source of food. They have wing spans of nearly 12 centimeters, like small sparrows.
CHANCE: Some frustrated locals have posted videos of themselves trying to hold back the tide, but it all seems futile in the face of such an
overwhelming Russian swarm.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
FOSTER: We'll keep you updated on that, because this is unbelievable the amount of damage, isn't it?
Now, if you're always feeling freezing at work, then we might have a reason for you why that would be. A new study found that an air conditioning in
our offices is geared up for the average man back in the 1960s. To find out if that formula is still affecting us, we went out to ask Londoners how
they're holding up. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, it's freezing all the time. Even when it's glorious sunshine out here, I'm absolutely freezing.
I have an emergency cardigan on the back of my chair at all times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think air conditioning would be more cooler in the office and then women would have to wear like a jumper or something like
that, but just with natural fresh air it's good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All women in our office find the aircon too cold. People bring like scarves, extra jumpers, all sorts of things to keep warm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why I have this. Why is it too cold? Why is it? Because they think it's summer they put out a lot higher than it
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I find it a little bit hot, actually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a gender thing, to be honest. I think some men, some women they feel the cold more than others. And, yeah, I
think it's really a personal touch rather than a gender thing.
FOSTER: Well, some very mixed views there, you could say. For more, the co-author of that study that discovered that many workplace thermostat
levels are based on old assumptions about who is in the room.
Boris Kingma joins us from Germany via Skype. He is a biophysicist of the Mastrecht University where he's also a member of the (inaudible) research
And it's a fascinating study, isn't it? Really has resonated around the world.
But what's the science behind men and women feeling different temperatures in the same room?
BORIS KINGMA, MASTRECHT UNIVERSITY: The basic thing is that women produce a little (inaudible) than men. And this is because they're (inaudible)
composition of their (inaudible) in general women are a little bit smaller and also have a different body composition than men.
They also lose less heat through the environment. And you can do that, for instance, if it's slightly warmer, you lose let heat through the
[11:50:12] FOSTER: So a man and a woman typically in the same room would feel different levels of temperature effectively, feel different levels of
coldness, if I can call it that.
KINGMA: You might say that. But of course, one important aspect here as well is clothing. Because what you can do with clothing is you just
insulate yourself. So it's actually already previous reports really show that clothing really matters and also in office situations. And what we
are actually pointing out is that metabolic rate is also a factor that should be taken into account. And especially the variation in it.
And it's not only with males/females, it's also with age. It's actually equations by Harrison Benedict already show quite clearly how age, gender
and body size really explain the metabolic rate.
FOSTER: So it's not just the sex of the person we're talking about, it's also other factors as well, what point of life they're living as well.
KINGMA: Yes. Excuse me, I couldn't hear.
FOSTER: Which is extraordinary -- I mean, what this means is that someone with an office can't actually set a temperature that's going to satisfy
KINGMA: Yes. I think that is a very realistic thing, right. So, then basically in practice what you -- two things are varying -- clothing people
are wearing and metabolic rates of people. What can you do?
Well, of course, you ask of people to be flexible to adjust clothing or -- but you can do only so much.
In case of summer condition where buildings are being cooled, they're actually now being over cooled for a lot of -- a part of the population.
So, why don't you save some energy, cool a little less, and so you cool the entire building a little bit less, save a lot of energy, and then only cool
at those places, at those spots, where you actually a little bit of cooling for those people that require cooling.
FOSTER: I know you're hear to sort of discuss the science of your findings, but you're the expert on this so far. What would you say is the
solution for this, if there are managers watching this in your offices or at home.
KINGMA: Well, I would for sure say listen to your people. That's for sure. Because all models are in fact just -- no single model will explain
it for everybody. And there will always be practical cases depending on the work type you're doing, depending on the clothing you have to work,
that you have to wear, for instance, for that work. So, it really depends on the special case itself.
In general, I think the good thing to do is to listen to your people and provide local solutions.
FOSTER: OK. Boris Kingma has been a fascinating study. Great to speak to you. You've certainly got people talking and thinking now about the
temperatures in their offices. Thank you very much indeed.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a home away from home. We step inside Lebanon's historic little Armenia for you.
[11:55:17] FOSTER: In tonight's Parting Shots, it's known by some as Little Armenia, a community in Lebanon is both sheltered and championed
Armenias away from home. But now it's under threat. We spoke to one man about the importance of this unique place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudilbe) became a safe haven for many Armenians who were forced to leave their homes and subsequently converge in this one
square mile territory to create home away from home.
Like many dwindling Christian communities across the Middle East, Bosha Mots (ph) struggles to retain its Armenian character against the tide of
political uncertainty engulfing the region.
More than 50 years, Bosha Mot (ph) played a pivotal role in preserving Aremenian national identity.
My intimate relationships with its narrow streets, the sites and sounds and its peculiar characters have all been an important source of inspiration
all my life.
There was a very neighborly atmosphere all along. I've never felt a stranger in Bosha Mot (ph). I never felt, you know, any differences
between an Armenian and non-Armenia, you know. As a kid I remember, you know, it was a very friendly environment. We all shared the same fate. We
all shared the same hope.
Because of the instability in the region, the fate of this community, of this Christian community is unknown. It's sort of under threat of being
vanished for good.
I am Ara Madzarian (ph). And these are my parting shots.
FOSTER: Taking you into little Armenia tonight.
I'm Max Foster, that was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.